HEB FEB 2019: Study Design and Use of Inquiry Frameworks in Qualitative Research Published in Health Education & Behavior


Qualitative methods help us understand context, explore new phenomena, identify new research questions, and uncover new models of change. To better understand how researchers in health education and healthbehavior use qualitative methods, we reviewed qualitative articles published in Health Education & Behavior from 2000 to 2015. We identified 48 articles that met our inclusion criteria and extracted information on the qualitative inquiry framework, use of theory, data collection methods, sampling strategy, general analysis approach, and reporting of results. Use of common qualitative inquiry frameworks was rare, with just one grounded theory study, five ethnographies, and one case study. No studies were framed using phenomenological or narrative inquiry approaches. Theory was used most commonly to select sensitizing constructs for analysis (41.7%) and to inform development of data collection instruments (27.1%). Interviews were the most common data collection method (66.7%), with focus groups next most common (39.6%). Sampling was typically purposive (87.5%), although often not labeled as such. Almost all (95.8%) the articles used quotes to illustrate themes and more than half (58.3%) used descriptors of magnitude (e.g., most, some) to report findings. The use of qualitative methods by health education and behaviorresearchers could be enriched with more intentional application of a broader range of inquiry frameworks. More deliberate application of a range of inquiry frameworks has the potential to broaden the types of research questions asked, application and generation of theory, study design, analytic strategies, and reporting of results.

Continuing Education

2.0 CHES, 2.0 CPH, 2.0 Entry-level CECH
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